- West Indies in England 2012
Bell expresses sympathy for fans over rotation
With England leaving out three frontline bowlers for the final one-day international against West Indies the issue of rotation has again been brought to the fore. It has ignited the debate about whether the game is being cheapened, especially for those who have paid considerable amounts for tickets to the match at Headingley.
Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann - the three players missing Friday's ODI - are the only first-choice picks across all three formats for England following Kevin Pietersen's limited-overs retirement and Ian Bell, who is now back in the 50-over side as Pietersen's replacement, understands that some of the public will be disappointed at not seeing a number of the star names.
"Of course, I have some sympathy," said Bell. "It has slightly weakened our attack, but I still think it is a team that can go out and beat West Indies. There's no doubt people want to come to see the Broads, Andersons and Bresnans. But they will be seeing young, exciting guys who will be big players for England over the next few years."
Andy Flower, the England coach, has been firm in his explanations of why he is taking such an approach, which included resting Broad and James Anderson from the final Test against West Indies. With England facing another five ODIs against Australia, followed by a full series in all formats against South Africa, then another hectic away season he believes that key players cannot play every match.
Bell agreed there was a balance to strike. "There's a heavy schedule coming up," he said. "We need to look after these guys. The key to our success in one-day cricket is having five out-and-out world-class bowlers. So if we want to beat the Australians, we want these guys fit and fresh and ready to go. For the three guys who play in all three forms of the game ... it's going to be crucial."
So far this season it has only been the bowlers or allrounders who have been rested although Andrew Strauss was among the first players given time off by Flower when he missed the Bangladesh tour in early 2010.
Although Bell sees the merits of rotation for the bowlers he has no desire for any downtime himself, especially after hitting a rich run of form which has seen him return to ODI colours with scores of 126 and 53. One of the major reasons behind England's defeat against Pakistan earlier this year was the rustiness of the batsmen after a two-month break, with Bell suffering particularly badly in the UAE, and he does not want to risk a repeat.
"Going into the UAE series, we'd had two or three months off - and I felt I'd lost my rhythm completely," he said. "So batting-wise, for me if I'm batting the better I play. It's out of my control if Andy was to give me a game off. But personally, from a batting point of view, if I'm out in the middle scoring runs, I want to stay scoring runs - definitely."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo